Poetry Evening

Who’s in the Next Room?


Poems by Thomas Hardy with new writing from Paul Hyland, Kate Scott, Catherine Simmonds & Pam Zinnemann-Hope

Four contemporary Dorset poets take Thomas Hardy’s electrifying verse as their starting point and juxtapose it with their own responses to his life, landscapes, fiction and poetry. The outcome of a National Trust residency as part of the Poetry Society’s centenary celebrations, the reading has been performed at venues ranging from Thomas Hardy’s house, Max Gate, the Bridport Literary Festival to Kings Place, London.


  • Standard Tickets | £10
  • DNHAS Members or The Thomas Hardy Society | £8
  • Opening hours:

    Dorset Museum & Art Gallery
    Daily: 10.00am - 5.00pm

    TASTE Café
    Daily: 9.00am - 4.00pm
    Sunday: 10:00am - 4:00pm

  • Dorset Museum

    High West Street
    Dorchester DT1 1XA

    View Map

Paul Hyland


Paul is a poet, travel writer and biographer, author of six travel books, the biography Ralegh’s Last Journey (HarperCollins), the guide Getting Into Poetry and seven poetry titles including Art of the Impossible, New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2004). Paul is an experienced reader of his work on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 and as writer-in-residence/and performer at literary events.


Kate Scott


Kate’s collection, Stitches, was published by Peterloo and her chapbook, Escaping the Cage, by HappenStance. Her poems and short fiction have been broadcast on Radio 4 and in the US. She is an award-winning author of 35 children’s books, and a children’s TV head writer, scriptwriter and story editor. Her plays have been performed at fringe venues in Salisbury and London.


Catherine Simmonds


Catherine’s poetry has appeared in journals in the UK and USA. We Have Heard Ravens – her collection of prose poems drawn from the diaries of Dorothy Wordsworth (Flagon Press) became a performance with music composed by Virginia Astley. She collaborates with artist Rachel Sargent on exhibitions of poems and paintings, including Far West (Artmill Gallery, Plymouth, 2021) and Sanctuary, written during 2020 about a much loved local common.


Pam Zinnemann-Hope


Pam is a children’s author, librettist, playwright, and poet. On Cigarette Papers, her first collection, was short-listed for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and adapted by her for The Afternoon Play on Radio 4, in which she also acted. Foothold travels through the seasons and ecology in Thomas Hardy Territory. She is an experienced tutor and reader.



‘One of the best poetry readings I have attended’

Daisy Goodwin,
Sunday Times

‘What a pleasure it was to hold the event with you…and to hear the wonderful poems which you have produced…the Who’s in the Next Room? show works brilliantly’

Graham Henderson,
Poet in the City,
King’s Place, London

‘It was an exceptional experience to sit in Thomas Hardy’s house and enjoy the skill of modern poets reading their work as it should be heard, sharing their talent and reaffirming the long literary tradition’

Peter Davies,
after a performance
at Max Gate

‘An evening of creative genius’

View from Dorchester,
Thomas Hardy Society Conference

‘Thank you all for producing such a perfect evening of poetry. You had the audience enthralled…It is a tribute to all your talents that the evening was sold out so rapidly’

Tanya Bruce-Lockhart, Director,
Bridport Literary Festival

Who’s in the Next Room?
by Thomas Hardy


“Who’s in the next room?–who?
I seemed to see
Somebody in the dawning passing through,
Unknown to me.”
“Nay: you saw nought. He passed invisibly.”

“Who’s in the next room?–who?
I seem to hear
Somebody muttering firm in a language new
That chills the ear.”
“No: you catch not his tongue who has entered there.”

“Who’s in the next room?–who?
I seem to feel
His breath like a clammy draught, as if it drew
From the Polar Wheel.”
“No: none who breathes at all does the door conceal.”

“Who’s in the next room?–who?
A figure wan
With a message to one in there of something due?
Shall I know him anon?”
“Yea he; and he brought such; and you’ll know him anon.”


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